أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ ﴿1﴾ حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَ ﴿2﴾ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿3﴾ ثُمَّ كَلَّا سَوْفَ تَعْلَمُونَ ﴿4﴾ كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿5﴾ لَتَرَوُنَّ الْجَحِيمَ ﴿6﴾ ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ ﴿7﴾ ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ ﴿8﴾
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
- Al haaku mut takathur
- Hatta zurtumul-maqaabir
- Kalla sawfa ta’lamoon
- Thumma kalla sawfa ta’lamoon
- Kalla law ta’lamoona ‘ilmal yaqeen
- Latara-wun nal jaheem
- Thumma latara wunnaha ‘ainal yaqeen
- Thumma latus alunna yauma-izin ‘anin na’eem
In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.
- You are distracted by mutual competition in amassing (worldly benefits) ,
- until you reach the graves.
- No! (This is not a correct attitude.) You will soon know (the reality) .
- Again, you will soon know.
- No! Only if you knew (it) with a sure knowledge!
- You will certainly see the Hell,
- then you will see it with full certitude.
- Then you will be asked about all the pleasures (you enjoyed in the world) .
Special Merit of Surah At-Takathur
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is reported to have once asked the noble Companions: Is there anyone from amongst you who has the strength to recite one thousand verses a day?” The blessed Companions replied: “Who can recite a thousand verses a day?” The Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Can you not recite Surah At-Takathur?” This implies that Surah At-Takathur equals in weight and worth to a thousand verses, thus stressing its great importance. [ Mazhari with reference to Hakim and Baihagi on the authority of Ibn Umar ].
Warning Against Materialistic Attitude
Verse [ 1] أَلْهَاكُمُ التَّكَاثُرُ (You are distracted by mutual competition in amassing [ worldly benefits ].) The word takathur is derived from the root kathrah, and means ‘to amass much wealth’. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) and Hasan Basri (رح) have assigned this interpretation to it. Qatadah رحمة الله علیه says that this word is also used in the sense of ‘taking pride in the abundance of material goods’. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) reports that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recited this verse and explained its meaning, thus: “Acquiring wealth but not paying out of it the obligatory dues.” [ Qurtubi ].
حَتَّىٰ زُرْتُمُ الْمَقَابِرَVerse [ 2] (until you reach the graves.) Here the words ‘reaching the graves’ mean ‘to die and be buried in the graves’, as the following Prophetic Hadith bears testimony to this interpretation. Referring to verse [ 2] of this Surah, the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said: حَتّٰی یِأتيکُم الموت “until death overtakes you” [ Ibn Kathir, from by Ibn Abi Hatim ]. The verse thus implies that many people are engrossed in acquiring worldly goods and racing each other in wealth and children etc. and remain neglectful of the Hereafter till death comes upon them, and then they are seized by the divine punishment. Sayyidna ` Abdullah Ibn Shikhkhir (رض) reports that one day he visited the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) while the latter was reciting Surah At-Takathur and was saying:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: ” يَقُولُ الْعَبْدُ: مَالِي، مَالِي، إِنَّمَا لَهُ مِنْ مَالِهِ ثَلَاثٌ: مَا أَكَلَ فَأَفْنَى، أَوْ لَبِسَ فَأَبْلَى، أَوْ أَعْطَى فَاقْتَنَى، وَمَا سِوَى ذَلِكَ فَهُوَ ذَاهِبٌ، وَتَارِكُهُ لِلنَّاسِ”. (رواه مسلم: 2959)
“The Son of Adam says: ‘My wealth, my wealth.’ But you do not reap any benefit from your wealth except for that which you ate and you finished it, or that which you clothed yourself with and you wore it out, or that which you gave as charity and you have spent it.”
And in a narration by Muslim: “Everything else other than that will go away, and he will leave it for other people. (i.e. inheritors) ” [ Ibn Kathlr and Qurtubi as transmitted by Muslim, Tirmidhl and Ahmad ].
Imam Bukhari records from Sayyidna Anas that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said:
عَنِ ابْنِ شِهَابٍ، قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي أَنَسُ بْنُ مَالِكٍ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «لَوْ أَنَّ لِابْنِ آدَمَ وَادِيًا مِنْ ذَهَبٍ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُ وَادِيَانِ، وَلَنْ يَمْلَأَ فَاهُ إِلَّا التُّرَابُ، وَيَتُوبُ اللَّهُ عَلَى مَنْ تَابَ». (صحيح البخاري: 6439، صحيح مسلم: 1048)
“If the Son of ‘Adam has a valley of gold, he would love to have two valleys, and nothing but the dust of grave will fill his mouth. And Allah accepts the repentance of him who turns to Him in penitence.”
Sayyidna ‘Ubayy Ibn Ka` b (رض) ، referring to the Tradition quoted above, says, “We used to think that this was a part of the Qur’an until the first verse of Surah At-Takathur was revealed.” It seems that the Holy Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) recited the verse and interpreted it in his own words. As a result, some of the Companions were under the impression that the Prophetic words were part of the Qur’an. Later on, when the Surah was recited in its entirety, it did not contain the Prophetic words. This made them realize that the Prophetic words were actually of explanatory nature, and not part of the Qur’an.
Verse [ 102:5] كَلَّا لَوْ تَعْلَمُونَ عِلْمَ الْيَقِينِ (No! if you have had sure knowledge..) The word ‘if requires a principal clause that seems missing here, but the context suggests that the sense is the following: “If you had the sure knowledge of accountability on the Day of Judgment, you would not have engrossed yourselves in mutual competition in acquiring worldly goods and taking pride in their abundance.”
Verse [ 102:7] ثُمَّ لَتَرَوُنَّهَا عَيْنَ الْيَقِينِ (…then you will see it with an eye of certainty.) The phrase ‘ain-ul-yagin’ (translated above as ‘eye of certainty’ ) refers to the certainty attained by physical observation, and this is the highest degree of certainty. Sayyidna Ibn ` Abbas (رض) reports that when Holy Prophet Musa (علیہ السلام) was on the mount of Tur, his people started worshipping a calf. Allah informed him about this while he was still on the mountain. This piece of information did not affect Musa (عليه السلام) so much. However, when he returned and saw the Children of Israel, with his own eyes, worshipping the calf, he became so indignant that the tablets of Torah involuntarily fell from his hands. [ Transmitted by Ahmad and Tabarani with an authentic chain of narrators, as quoted by Mazhari ].
Verse [ 102:8] ثُمَّ لَتُسْأَلُنَّ يَوْمَئِذٍ عَنِ النَّعِيمِ (Then you will be asked about all the pleasures [ you enjoyed in the world ].) This means that, on the Day of Judgment, all of you will be questioned whether you had shown gratitude towards Allah’s favors, or did you misuse them and were ungrateful to Allah? Some of these favors and bounties are explicitly mentioned elsewhere in the Qur’an:
﴿إِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَالْبَصَرَ وَالْفُؤَادَ كُلُّ أُولَـٰئِكَ كَانَ عَنْهُ مَسْئُولًا﴾
(…Surely, the ear, the eye and the heart – each one of them shall be interrogated about.) [ 17:36]
These organs and their faculties comprehend millions of blessings of Allah, and man will be questioned as to how he used them every moment of his life.
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is reported to have said that first question that will be put by Allah to every person is: “Did I not give you good health, and did I not give you cold water to quench your thirst?” (Tirmidhi, and Ibn Hibban, with rating as sahib, from Abu Hurairah, as quoted by Ibn Kathir)
The Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is also reported to have said that no man will be able to move from his place unless he answers five questions: [ 1] How did he spend his life? [ 2] In what pursuits did he expend his youthful energy? [ 3] How did he earn his wealth – (by lawful means or unlawful means?) [ 4] Where did he spend his wealth – (in lawful ways or unlawful ways?) and [ 5] Did he act upon the knowledge Allah gave him? (Bukhari).
Mujahid (رح) ، the leading authority on Tafsir, says that this question on the Day of Judgment relates to every delight of the world that he enjoyed – whether it is in connection with food, clothes, house, wife, children, kingdom, government or honor. Qurtubi, having cited this, concludes that this is absolutely true, because the question does not specify any particular blessing.
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